The Study of Textiles has been accorded a place in the curriculum of many schools on account of its educational, as well as its practical, value. Woven materials play an important part in the every-day life with which the school wishes to connect. The evolution of the modern textile industries has influenced the development of all nations so that the history of the gradual growth of the primitive into the civilized world is closely connected with changes in the textile field. The early beginnings offer excellent suggestions for courses of handwork and design. In addition, the industrial and commercial aspects of history, English, geography and arithmetic are made more real and valuable by using the textile interests in correlation. This subject may serve, therefore, as a means of unifying the school studies. Industrial organization underlies our present civilization. Conditions which affect our industries reach our social life. The textile industries are especially influenced by women, and their knowledge or ignorance as consumers are controlling factors in the nation's industrial development. It is especially advantageous in every course of sewing for girls, in either elementary or secondary schools, to introduce textile discussions. In elementary education the value of personal experience in primitive textile manufacture has been ably presented by Professor John Dewey,* of Columbia University, and by Miss Katherine E. Dopp,+ of Chicago University. They advocate the reproducing of early industrial life in the school, that through it the children of to-day may have the same incentive for thought and activity which were the prime factors in developing the race. It thus leads these children to an understanding of present conditions for which our involved modern system of factory work cannot be satisfactorily utilized. The simple carding, spinning, designing, weaving and decorating, as well as many other early occupations, are interesting and call for reasoning and creativity. Ideas of simple social conditions and of the early organization of society are also given through such study. The children can, through play or dramatization, live the life of the early races, or they can reproduce on sand trays the entire community, with its industries and interests. In later education, the historic side of textiles is a part of industrial history, sociology, economics or other studies, and it may also connect practically with the sciences. In addition, valuable utilitarian ideas which will materially benefit the organization of the home, as well as react advantageously upon our manufacturing interests, may be obtained at every stage of woman's education. The knowledge of the physical construction of the fibers in use and of their properties will enable a purchaser to judge of their hygienic and warmth-giving conditions, as well as of their cleansing and laundering possibilities; and the understanding of processes of manufacture will assist the student to judge of good and bad materials, and of adulterations, to know widths, costs, and where to find the best markets. Useful knowledge of this sort should not only make women better and more economic consumers, but should give them new standards of the beauty and service of materials. This would tend to eliminate over-decoration and needless luxury in the homes. The study of factories and workrooms, and the knowledge of methods of manufacture will also bring about an appreciation for, and sympathy with, the worker, which will make for the permanent bettering of labor conditions and of society at large.
*School and Society.
+Place of Industries in Elementary Education.